'Brilliant' Bearatipp set for English Derby
Bearatipp is an exciting new name on the English Derby trail following his stunning performance in winning the final of the Joe Dunne Memorial Puppy Stake at Shelbourne Park on Saturday night.
The betting flip-flopped on the night, with Bearatipp backed into 5/4 favouritism as Lenson Sanchez drifted out from that price to 7/4.
But by the first bend of the final Bearatipp would have been long odds-on after the principals had enjoyed contrasting fortunes.
As is his style, Bearatipp flew out of the inside box and raced to the bend a few lengths in front of Lenson Sanchez's kennel companion Ballymac Gordie.
Sanchez had missed the kick and he was at the tail of the field with all hopes of victory gone.
Bearatipp, having posted a 1.95 first split, was giving a masterclass. The Droopys Scolari puppy scorched the sand on the back straight as he went four lengths up from Ballymac and was clearly on his way to crediting owner Larry O'Rourke with the €6,000 prize.
Whereas in his first few races he had looked decidedly short on stamina, Bearatipp kept on much stronger and raced home three and a half lengths clear of the gallant Ballymac Gordie in 28.35, with Highview Jayne two and a half lengths third.
McKenna was enjoying the National Meeting yesterday, where he said: "It was a brilliant effort. He came out of traps well and then showed a nice bit of early pace. That's more than half the battle.
"I think he is staying on stronger and I reckon you will see an even better dog when he gets the warmer weather. He is thin-skinned and he really cowers in the cold wind.
"I haven't spoken with Larry O'Rourke yet but I would imagine the English Derby will be the big target.
"But the timing is ideal to run him in the Kirby Memorial at Limerick first. There is a great pot on offer there and it is ideally spaced between this event and the English Derby".
One way or another, no fancy prices will be offered about Bearatipp for Wimbledon and he will probably slot in behind Laughil Blake and Droopys Roisin in the betting.
The second-round heats of the €20,000 Best Car Parks Gold Cup also produced the thrills and a brilliant run from the Larry Dunne-owned Slippery Fred.
This lightly raced son of Brett Lee flew to the corner in the final heat and raced home five and a half lengths in front of View The Moon in 28.25.
The other heat winners were Adrian McPherson's Honour And Glory in 28.64, McKenna's Fiery Splendour in 28.74 and Graham Holland's ante-post favourite Clares Wonder in 28.50.
O'Donovan all set for Derby Double
At times it has looked as though Michael O'Donovan was destined never to win the Boylesports.com Derby, but heading into today's final day of the National Meeting the Tipperary-based trainer has clear favourite Timber House and second favourite Portane All In.
The biggest price available yesterday evening about Timber House was evens after he had flown upfield in clocks of 12.08 and 12.22, and he will be very hot to win this morning's first quarter-final against Defacto.
O'Donovan's second string Portane All In had luck on his side when he had two byes yesterday and he will be involved in an eagerly awaited quarter-final against the Marie Field-owned Kyle Bruce.
It would be a massive achievement should O'Donovan land the classic as it would complete the Boylesports double for him, following on from Laughil Blake's victory in the Irish Derby at Shelbourne last September.
There was great excitement in Killarney's Speakeasy Bar last night as they considered the chances of their two runners Game Mikey and Feel My Pulse in the quarter-finals.
The Greyhound & Pet World Oaks looks far more open and the 3/1 joint favourites going into the final day are another O'Donovan runner, Manntan Maple, and the Pat Curtin trained Windfarm Ivy.
There will be great sympathy for Curtin after his favourite Breska Lantern broke her leg when clear up the field yesterday.
There was a huge crowd present yesterday where coursing was delayed due to frost in the ground.
Among the withdrawals were the Brendan Matthews-trained Needham Work and Needham Danger from the Kevin Smith Champion Stakes.
Damian Matthews said: "There were wholesale withdrawals and then Breska Lantern broke her leg, while there was a reflection which was causing hares not to go home at the escape. We took the decision it wouldn't be appropriate to run the dogs with the Irish Cup coming up".